Are You Having Fun?

Posted: September 3, 2012 in creativity, fun, junior high ministry, middle school ministry

Last week my wife relayed a story to me that happened at our Sunday morning middle school service. Nicole (my wife) met a girl who was there for the first-time and (most likely) was there because her parents made her. She had a pretty sour demeanor, arms crossed, not interested in what was happening. She kept asking my wife when “class” started. Nicole continued to assure her that our middle school service is nothing like a “class,” and in fact, what we were doing in the moment was all part of the experience. Between the Interlude dance, the French Fry Fling game, and the rocking worship by our band, this girl was clearly confused. She had her paradigm of church in a small little “box,” and our version didn’t fit in that box.

Oh, we still had a 20 minute message that morning and discussion groups to debrief what students learned. Discipleship is at the top of our list of priorities. But what if we understood “fun” as an integral part of discipleship? We intentionally plan our middle school services with something familiar or fun at the beginning so new students or un-churched students start to relax and receive what’s coming from the stage a little more easily. When students feel like they can participate right away with what’s happening, it gives them the confidence to know they can participate in the teaching elements as well.

In a previous blog post, I talked about the five needs of every child: structure, nurture, challenge, engagement, and… oh yes… playfulness. It’s not just a want; it’s a need. It answers the question: Am I delighted in? Do the students in your ministry feel delighted in while they’re at the Father’s house?

I had a Christian Education professor in college that always said the same thing at the end of class on Fridays: “Work hard, pray hard, and play hard.” I always thought it was kind of funny that my college professor was coaching me to play hard over the weekend. But because of their wisdom, I think I developed a deeper theology of fun. I started to understand that “fun” wasn’t a creation of mankind; rather, it is a creation of the Father, an important part of being made in the image of God.

This Friday we are throwing a massive middle school party called the Bash. And yes, there will be a dodgeball dome, a mechanical bull, a tomato sling-shot, a slam dunk contest, and much more. I can’t wait to worship God and delight in Him as He delights in us… as I get thrown from the mechanical bull.

How fun is your ministry? How fun is your parenting?

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Comments
  1. ypadam says:

    I have always made sure to have a fun element to our middle school ministry. We have to remember that the ministry is not for us (adults), but for middle schoolers who want to play. Thanks for reminding us all to have fun!

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